p a r a b o l a

01:45 thursday 11 november – rosevear , st agnes

my eye lights upon the clock in the corner of my screen and i realise i have lain here three minutes already , unsure how to begin . how complex i make simple things . how easily i lose myself in the infinite possibilities .

i returned to the islands on tuesday afternoon after seventeen days on the mainland . my longest absence since arriving . the birdwatchers , the islands’ last invaders , are gone . the tourist shops in hugh town are closed and their windows cleared . the tripper boats are laid up , no longer jostling against the quay . the harbour moorings lie empty . the islanders have the place to themselves once more .

these are the islands i discover , so transformed from those i left . the sky is perfectly clear , the granite glowing in its low golden light , the calm water appearing soft and mysterious . my heart lifts .

the time in london has been extraordinary . on none of my previous visits have i packed my time so tight . the city is ablaze with the twin fevers of web speculation and the impending millennium . it is a strange place , vivid and dangerous . as my visits have punctuated the year i have sensed the rising tides and sought for ther direction . the change i perceived between september and october was greater than between any previous months . i know not what i shall find on my next foray , due in mid december .

a few fragments :

i saw tippett’s opera king priam with my aunt clare at the colliseum . one of the finest productions i have ever seen . a drama of destiny , choice and consequence with the power to hold a non-specialist audience’s attention through three acts of abstract music .

i had lunch with michael young and felt humbled by the astuteness of this octagenarian’s quizzing of my designs for electronically-distributed democratic systems . i made him promise to summon the patience to learn how to use a computer , even if he only gets to grips with email . he asked me if i would consider joining a group of about thirty people to go and live on an uninhabited island for a year to see what kind of constitution we would end up with . he seemed certain that some kind of religion would emerge . i thought insanity was more likely and told him to ask me again after i’d spent six months on a slightly larger land mass .

i tried to explain my model for the school for social entrepreneurs’ communications infrastructure to the staff and my fellow students . it was all a bit rocky and incoherent but slowly i’m beginning to find the language to communicate some of my ideas . the group’s questions and challenges were useful .

i met tom perrett for the first time in a year , just returned from adventures on the other side of the world . the same but different .

i had dinner with dinah moule , an inspiring young lady who aims to set up an organisation providing a space on the web where children can discuss their problems and access information .

i met mark czapnik , a traveller from melbourne , alighting from a bus at two in the morning and spent the next three and a half hours in conversation .

i walked the streets of west london with my friend henry hawkins quietly lamenting the difficulty of life .

the litany need not continue i think .

03:15 friday 12 november – rosevear , st agnes

just returned from a star-lit walk by the shore . seems a long time since i last did this . the sea is so still i did not see its margin and found myself treading in a couple of inches of water .

i stood and turned my face to the stars for an unmeasurable period . how wonderful they are , how ceaselessly compelling . as i watched a big meteor ripped across the sky leaving a trail of fizzing light . childlike i made my wish .

nik schultz arrived here on monday night and was in the house when i arrived . it was quite a gamble deciding to live and work under the same roof over the winter having never met , but somehow it seemed perfectly natural . i’ve been ranting on more than usual the last couple of days . maybe it’s because of all the stuff going round in my head or just because of the unaccustomed luxury of having an audience . he’s been very polite anyway . meanwhile we’re delicately negotiating about who has the big bedroom .

nik met andrew may , a director of the islands’ main flower marketing business , on his way over and there’s the prospect of a web project . fast work , and more apprenticeship opportunities for the workshop .

i spent much of this afternoon preparing supplementary material for the workshop’s european funding bid . i failed to persuade the laura ashley foundation that it would be a good idea to give us another few grand . lets hope we have more luck with this one .

: cH

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